Neighbours’ dismay at flood chaos

Michaela Ignatius at her home on Linden Avenue, Orrell.
Michaela Ignatius at her home on Linden Avenue, Orrell.

Disgruntled neighbours have hit out at Wigan Council over a long-running dispute involving poorly-draining land leaving their drives flooded.

Wigan and Leigh Homes tenant Michaela Ignatius and her neighbour Patricia Nodwell, from Orrell, claim they have spent 12 months trying to get the authorities to act as the pathway between their homes has become a health and safety hazard.

They say water is flowing off the surface of Linden Avenue onto Ms Ignatius’ land and then flowing underneath the path and Ms Nodwell’s drive.

This has caused many of the flags to break and become unstable due to rising mud underneath them, with several children tripping on the uneven surface.

The issue also makes the driveways almost unusable in winter, leaving Ms Ignatius, who is disabled, to park elsewhere on the road and walk on her crutches to her home carrying her shopping.

Wigan and Leigh Homes says it will take action to sort out the problem by the end of this month but Ms Ignatius and Ms Nodwell want to know why it has taken so long.

Ms Nodwell said: “We’ve been trying to get this sorted out since last year. We’ve rung between us dozens of times over the past six months and still nothing has been done.

“A couple of children have fallen where the broken flags have lifted and I’ve tripped over them myself. They are not safe.

“The water has taken all the mud from under the flags on my drive and washed it all away, so there’s this big divide. When you walk down all the mud squishes up and goes all up your legs.

“It’s just awful and they are not taking us on. It’s like we’re non-existent.”

Ms Ignatius added: “In winter the front garden is a swamp, basically. It’s raising the flags up and you can feel them moving when you walk on them.

“I have to park at the bottom of the street because there’s nowhere else and that’s hard for me because I’ve got a disability. Carrying bags when I’ve got my crutches with me is hard work. We’ve both been on to Wigan and Leigh Homes about the state of it. It looks a mess and the neighbours are complaining. They just keep fobbing us off.”

Ms Nodwell, who is a private tenant, says she has also been hit financially as she has had to pay for her drive to be relaid twice in the space of 12 months.

However, she says it is the injuries people are sustaining on the damaged flags which concern her most.

Wigan and Leigh Homes said it hopes the issues with the properties on Linden Avenue will be resolved within the next few weeks but offered no explanation for the delays Ms Ignatius and Ms Nodwell say they have experienced.

Matt Roberts, director of asset management and development at Wigan and Leigh Homes, said: “We had been informed of the issue with surface water not draining and arranged for the highway engineers to undertake a survey to find a solution. We are going to fit a drain in the front garden of Ms Ignatius’ home which will remove the surface water and discharge it into a gulley in the highway. We will then relay the footpaths to the correct falls and eliminate any trip hazards. This work is programmed to be completed by the end of September 2016.”